The Draw of Broken Eyes and Whirling Metaphysics by Clifford Brooks: Review

Posted on: February 7, 2013
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Clifford Brooks, a veteran poet, has injected a new collection of verse into the greater scope of Southern literature. His work stands out, however, in that it is not only beautiful, but tells a beautiful story as well.
His poems burst with examples of the need for-and illustration-of the concept of psychological resilience. Clifford writes from the heart, yet still pays clear attention to detail. His work can at times appear simplistic, while impregnated throughout with terms\ideas that are advanced in both intellectual and cultural fashions. He reveals human existence from a new light.
One example that caught this reviewer’s attention occurred at the book’s end in his epic entitle The Gateman’s Hymn of Ignoracium. Inspired by his love of Dante’s Divine Comedy, he created a fourth afterlife, “Ignoracium” narrated by the “Gatekeeper”. In this previously unknown end, a world worse than the Inferno, Brooks places “sinners” from three specific groups he saw over ten years working in Georgia’s welfare system who took advantage of, and sometimes destroyed, the disenfranchised that system claimed to protect. While the reviewer will leave details to the book, this poem alone demonstrates Brooks’ ability to combine poetry with the creative setting usually only depicted in a novel.
Most importantly, his poem’s greatest contribution to existing literature is its promotion of joy. He reminds us that there can be deeper meaning in any facet of life, epic or mundane, by illuminating a myriad of avenues in which people can enjoy life off of autopilot.
This collection is recommended for anyone with an interest in resilience and poetry, the human struggle to survive and triumph over adversity, and a never-ending battle in trying to find love.



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